New Mexico's Flag History
Since 1912, when New Mexico entered the union, two official state flags have flown over this southwestern state.
The first flag of the state was designed by New Mexico historian Ralph Emerson Twitchell and featured a design quite different from the current flag. Mr. Twitchell's flag was blue with a small representation of the flag of the United States in the upper left hand corner and the New Mexico State Seal in the lower right hand corner. "NEW MEXICO" was embroidered diagonally across the field from the lower left hand corner to the upper right hand corner.
Enter the Daughters of the American Revolution who had been quite involved with the official state flag designations in other states. In 1920, the Daughters of the American Revolution suggested that a new design be adopted that was more representative of the unique character of New Mexico. This idea had many supporters and as had been done in other states, a design competition was launched. The winner was Dr. Harry Mera, a Santa Fe physician and archeologist. The flag was constructed by Dr. Mera's wife, Reba.
The simple and meaningful design features an interpretation of an ancient symbol of the sun as found on a late 19th century water jar from Zia Pueblo. This red symbol is called a "Zia" and is centered on a field of yellow.
Four is the sacred number of the Zia and can be found repeated in the four points radiating from the circle. The number four is embodied in the four points of the of the compass, North, East, South and West; in the four seasons of the year Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter; in the 24 hours of each day by sunrise, noon, evening and night; by four seasons of life, childhood, youth, adulthood and old age. The Zia also believed that with life came four sacred obligations: development of a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit and devotion to the welfare of people/family. All of these things are bound together within the circle of life.
The red and yellow colors are the colors of Isabel of Castilla brought to the continent by the Spanish Conquistadors.
Link here to the New Mexico State Historical Society for facts, figures and history of New Mexico.